A Plant-Based Diet For Autoimmune Disease


    Martin Alvarez

    Martin Alvarez
    Nutritionist/Dietitian Professional Guide

    Updated on 12/3/2022

    Between 14.7 million and 23.5 million persons in the United States suffer from autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In autoimmune disorders like these and others, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, or the "self," causing damage and symptoms in the bodily systems impacted.  Check out this article on following a Plant-Based Diet For Autoimmune Disease.

    People living with Rheumatoid arthritis who followed a gluten-free, plant-based diet saw more significant levels of pain alleviation than those who followed a diet that did not emphasize the consumption of plants, according to the findings of single, limited research. Research reveals that nutrition can have a role in the formation, strength, and behavior of the immune system, which is a challenge that will never be solved since the pathophysiology of autoimmune disease remains a mystery. In particular, a whole and plant-based diet (WFPB) diet may be advantageous in several vital areas connected with autoimmunity.

    By Eliminating The Worst Offenders In The System

    Eliminating the Biggest Offenders

    As a general rule, when it comes to dietary recommendations for individuals who suffer from autoimmunity, they are advised to stay away from items likely to trigger symptoms. These foods include refined stevia sugar, dairy products, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and most vegetable oils. Along with eggs, caffeine, cereals, legumes, nightshade vegetables, nuts, and seeds, gluten consumption is included on the list of foods that should be limited. A diet low in seeds and nuts can also be modified by removing spices from these sources. After the symptoms associated with the food allergy have faded, the suspect foods are reintroduced one at a time to discover which foods may be ingested safely and which must be avoided entirely.


    The severity of the autoimmune disorder will determine the extent to which it is necessary to follow the elimination procedure to treat it. Because the WFPB diet does not include the vast majority of items excluded from an autoimmune protocol, some people may feel better if they adopt it and make no other changes to their eating habits. Some people might need to cut out even more items before they notice an improvement in their symptoms. People living with Rheumatoid arthritis who followed a gluten-free, plant-based diet saw more significant levels of pain alleviation than those who followed a diet that did not emphasize the consumption of plants, according to the findings of single, limited research. Considering that these diets may lead to a high level of restriction in the short term, it is advisable to work with a qualified doctor, dietician, or nutritionist during the program to ensure that you are obtaining all the nutrients you require for good health. This will help you avoid any potential problems.

    Reducing The Level Of Inflammation


    Because inflammation is often a symptom associated with autoimmune illnesses, elimination regimens usually take a rigorous approach to remove any foods that can potentially trigger an inflammatory reaction in the body.

    In general, vegetarian and vegan diets are linked to reduced inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. In contrast, diets heavy in animal products and saturated fat tend to induce inflammation in the body. Removing extracted oils, many of which are high in omega-6 fats that contribute to inflammation, is an additional advantage that comes with adopting a diet centered on whole plant-based foods. Antioxidants, which may be found in diets made entirely from plants, also fight inflammation. Consuming anti-inflammatory spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric, and cayenne pepper might boost the impact. These spices are all found in chili peppers.

    Bringing Health To The Gut

    Healing the Gut

    It goes without saying that the state of one's digestive tract significantly impacts one's immune system. The microbiome is responsible for breaking down undigested food particles and releasing metabolites. In contrast, lymphoid tissue in the gut lining is responsible for monitoring the gut's contents for infections. A poor diet disrupts the natural balance of bacteria in the heart. It encourages the development of harmful metabolites, both of which can lead to the breakdown of the tight junctions that keep the cells in the stomach from leaking their contents. If food particles or microorganisms can pass through these "leaky" holes, the immune system may mistake them for foreign invaders and respond by launching an assault.

    Healing the Gut

    Dietary regimes used to treat autoimmunity focus on eliminating foods that are highly allergic and contribute to a leaky gut. Foods consumed as part of a whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet generally promote gut health by diversifying the microbiome and increasing the production of metabolites that strengthen and tighten the gut lining. This helps prevent the contents of the gut from entering the bloodstream. Individual reactivity may vary; however, this effect can be seen in general.

    Promoting The Health Of The Immune System

    Promoting The Health Of The Immune System

    Studies have shown that certain plant foods can modulate the immune response positively, and good immunological reactions can be supported by eating certain plant foods that include nutrients and antioxidants:

    • Carotenoids and flavonoids are found in fruits and vegetables with vibrant colors, particularly berries.
    • Granola, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, root vegetables, and nutritional yeast are all excellent sources of B vitamins.
    • Foods rich in vitamins A and C include tomatoes, bell peppers, oranges, papayas, and broccoli.
    • Green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and onions are excellent immune system boosters.

    Promoting The Health Of The Immune System

    If your body's vitamin D levels are low, taking a vitamin D supplement from a high-grade plant might further help. In autoimmune illnesses, eating nutrient-dense plant foods can be a promising way to reduce symptoms and repair the body in autoimmune illnesses. However, each case of autoimmune disease is unique and requires a customized diet plan and supplement plan tailored to meet the specific signs and symptoms of the individual patient. A plant based diet for autoimmune disease by switching from processed foods to whole foods. This diet eliminates many foods that are thought to exacerbate the symptoms of autoimmune diseases while also providing beneficial anti-inflammatory compounds and increasing the diversity of the gut microbiome.